Chapter 1.13
ADMINISTRATIVE CITATIONS

Sections:

1.13.010    Declaration of purpose.

1.13.020    Authority.

1.13.030    Procedures.

1.13.040    Contents of notice of administrative citation.

1.13.050    Appeal of administrative citation.

1.13.060    Administrative enforcement order.

1.13.070    Penalties assessed.

1.13.080    Failure to pay penalties.

1.13.010 Declaration of purpose.

The Board of Supervisors finds that there is a need for an alternative method of enforcement for violations of the Santa Cruz County Code and applicable State codes. The Board of Supervisors further finds that an appropriate method of enforcement for some types of violations is an administration citation, as authorized by California Government Code Section 53069.4. The procedures established in this chapter shall be in addition to criminal, civil or any other legal remedy established by law which may be pursued to address violations of the Santa Cruz County Code or applicable State codes. [Ord. 5196 § 1, 2015].

1.13.020 Authority.

(A)    Any person violating any provision of the Santa Cruz County Code or applicable State code may be issued an administrative citation by an enforcement officer as provided in this chapter.

(1)    Each and every day a violation of the Santa Cruz County Code or applicable State code exists constitutes a separate and distinct offense for which an administrative citation may be issued.

(2)    An administrative penalty shall be assessed by means of an administrative citation issued by the enforcing officer and shall be payable directly to the County of Santa Cruz.

(3)    Administrative penalties assessed by means of an administrative citation shall be collected in accordance with the procedures specified in this chapter.

(4)    The administrative citation process set forth in this chapter does not apply to continuing violations of the Santa Cruz County Code pertaining to building, plumbing, electrical, or other similar structural or zoning issues that require building permits or zoning approvals, unless a reasonable opportunity to correct or otherwise remedy the violation is first given to the responsible party and/or property owner. Ten days shall be deemed to be a reasonable period in the case of most such continuing violations; however, a longer period may be allowed at the sole discretion of the Planning Director. Nothing in this section shall prevent the County from utilizing the administrative citation process for building, plumbing, electrical, or other similar structural or zoning violations which are transient and noncontinuing in nature, or create an immediate danger to health or safety.

(B)    The issuance of an administrative citation under this chapter is solely at the discretion of the enforcing officer and is one option the County of Santa Cruz has to address violations of the County Code. “Enforcing officer,” for the purposes of this chapter, shall mean the Planning Director or his/her designee. The procedures established in this chapter shall supplement and be in addition to any criminal, civil or other remedy established by law or under the provisions of this code to address violations of the County Code. Issuance of an administrative citation shall not limit, or be deemed a waiver of, the use of any other available enforcement remedy.

(C)    The purpose of issuing administrative citations pursuant to this chapter is to encourage compliance with the provisions of the County Code. [Ord. 5196 § 1, 2015].

1.13.030 Procedures.

(A)    Upon discovering any violation of the Santa Cruz County Code or applicable State codes, the enforcing officer may issue an administrative citation to a responsible person in the manner prescribed in this chapter.

(1)    The enforcing officer shall attempt to identify the property owner, business owner, business manager, or responsible party to issue an administrative citation. A copy of the administrative citation may be personally served upon the property owner, business owner, business manager, or responsible party or shall be provided by first class mail, postage prepaid, including a copy of the certificate of mailing and by posting the citation on the site.

(2)    If the enforcing officer personally serves the administrative citation, they will attempt to obtain the signature of the person listed on the citation. If the responsible person refuses or fails to sign the administrative citation, the failure or refusal to sign shall not affect the validity of the citation and subsequent proceedings.

(3)    If no one can be located at the property, then the administrative citation shall be provided by first class mail, postage prepaid, including a copy of the certificate of mailing and by posting the citation on the site.

(4)    Provided that an administrative citation is properly issued to a responsible person, the failure of any person with an interest in the property to receive notice shall not affect the validity of any proceedings taken under this chapter. [Ord. 5196 § 1, 2015].

1.13.040 Contents of notice of administrative citation.

(A)    The administrative citation shall refer to the date and location, including the parcel number used by the Assessor on the current roll, of the violation(s) and the approximate time the violation(s) was observed.

(B)    The administrative citation shall refer to the code sections violated and describe how the sections are violated.

(C)    The administrative citation shall describe the action required to correct the violation(s).

(D)    The administrative citation shall require the responsible person to immediately correct the violations and shall explain the consequences of failure to correct the violation(s).

(E)    The administrative citation shall state the amount of penalty imposed for the violation(s).

(F)    The administrative citation shall explain how the penalty shall be paid and the time period by which it shall be paid, and the consequences of failure to pay the penalty.

(G)    The administrative citation shall provide notice of the right to appeal.

(H)    The administrative citation shall contain the signature of the enforcing officer and the signature of the responsible person if that person can be located and if their signature can be secured. [Ord. 5196 § 1, 2015].

1.13.050 Appeal of administrative citation.

(A)    A person served with an administrative citation issued pursuant to this chapter may file an appeal within 15 calendar days from the date of service.

(1)    The appeal shall be made in writing and submitted to the Planning Director or his/her designee.

(2)    The appeal shall be accompanied by an appeal fee in an amount established by resolution of the Board of Supervisors.

(3)    Upon the filing of a proper appeal, fines shall cease to be imposed unless such cessation would result in the continuation of an imminent life, health, or safety risk, as determined by the Building Official.

(4)    After receiving the written notice of appeal, the enforcing officer shall schedule an administrative hearing before the administrative hearing officer, pursuant to Chapter 1.12 SCCC.

(5)    Written notice of the date, time and place of the hearing shall be served at least 15 calendar days prior to the date of the hearing on the person appealing the administrative citation by any one of the methods listed in Chapter 1.12 SCCC.

(B)    The appeal hearing shall be conducted pursuant to the administrative enforcement hearing procedures set forth in Chapter 1.12 SCCC. [Ord. 5196 § 1, 2015].

1.13.060 Administrative enforcement order.

As part of the administrative enforcement order made pursuant to an administrative enforcement appeal, the administrative hearing officer shall determine whether the person given notice has committed, maintained, or permitted the alleged violation(s) of the County Code, and order the payment of the total verified amount of the County’s enforcement costs by any such person found to have committed or permitted the violations. The Hearing Officer may also impose conditions and deadlines to correct the violations and shall require payment of any outstanding penalties. [Ord. 5196 § 1, 2015].

1.13.070 Penalties assessed.

(A)    As authorized under Section 36900 of the California Government Code and Chapter 1.12 SCCC, the penalties assessed for a violation of the County Code for which an administrative citation is issued shall be as set forth in subsections (A)(2)(a), (b), and (c) of this section. An administrative citation may be issued for one or more violations of the County Code. Each violation of the County Code included in an administrative citation shall be subject to a penalty in the amount specified in subsections (A)(2)(a), (b), and (c) of this section.

(1)    If the responsible person fails to correct the violation, subsequent administrative citations may be issued for the same violation. The amount of the penalty shall increase at a rate specified in this chapter.

(2)    The penalties assessed for each administrative citation issued for the same violation shall not exceed the following amounts:

(a)    First violation: $100.00.

(b)    Second violation within a one-year period: $200.00.

(c)    Third or subsequent violation within a one-year period: $500.00.

(d)    Payment of the penalty shall not excuse the failure to correct the violations nor shall it bar further enforcement action by the County.

(e)    All penalties assessed shall be payable to the County of Santa Cruz. [Ord. 5196 § 1, 2015].

1.13.080 Failure to pay penalties.

The failure of any person to pay the administrative penalties assessed by an administration citation within the time specified on the citation may result in the enforcing officer referring the matter to a third party collection agency. Alternatively, the enforcing officer may pursue any other legal remedy to collect the administrative penalties as provided in SCCC 1.12.070. [Ord. 5196 § 1, 2015].